The Tigers had a quiet offseason in Scott Harris’ first winter as president of baseball operations. The new front office head seems content to take a season to evaluate the organization before reevaluating where to invest to return to playoff competitiveness in 2024 and beyond.
Throughout the lineup, the club has players trying to carve out long-term roles. MLBTR looked through various outfield possibilities a couple months ago. The infield might be a little more settled, with the likes of Spencer Torkelson, Jonathan Schoop and Javier Báez seemingly in position for regular playing time. There’s a fair bit of uncertainty about how manager A.J. Hinch will divide reps behind the dish, as Detroit allowed last year’s primary backstop Tucker Barnhart to depart in free agency after a down season.
Turning to the players who remain in Detroit:
Jake Rogers, 27, one minor league option remaining
Rogers’ defense has caught the attention of evaluators for years. Prospect writers credited the Tulane product as a plus or better defender, praising his athleticism, receiving, arm strength and acumen for handling a pitching staff. Those strong defensive reviews have been paired with longstanding questions about how much he’ll contribute at the plate. That has manifested at the MLB level, as the righty-swinging Rogers has only a .182/.264/.378 line with ten home runs but a massive 38% strikeout rate in 73 big league games.
Those were split between 2019-21, as Rogers lost all of last year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He’s healthy again now and has gotten into 11 Spring Training contests. He hasn’t yet topped more than 40 big league games in any season but his defensive reputation could earn him an extended look at some point.
Eric Haase, 30, zero options remaining
Haase was arguably Detroit’s best offensive player last year, at least on a rate basis. Among Tigers’ hitters with 200+ plate appearances, he was the only one who produced at an above-average level by measure of wRC+. Haase hit .254/.306/.443 through 351 trips to the dish. His strikeout and walk numbers weren’t great but he connected on 14 home runs. That came on the heels of a 22-homer showing over just 98 contests the prior year.
The former Cleveland draftee clearly brings above-average right-handed power upside. Even with fairly modest on-base numbers, he’s a strong offensive catcher. Haase has never really established himself on the other side of the ball though. Statcast…
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